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Feb 12, 2014

Critics claim Volcker rule skirts cost-benefit laws

WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Opponents of the Volcker
rule, which bans U.S. banks from proprietary trading, are
exploring whether regulators violated two obscure laws that
require them to study the costs to business, a move that could
lead to a possible legal challenge.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says bank regulators appear to
have failed to meet their obligation to fully study the Volcker
rule’s cost to the financial industry and the economy.

Feb 12, 2014

U.S. lawmakers: Fed board should vote on big enforcement actions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers said in a letter on Tuesday that the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors should have to sign off on major enforcement actions against banks.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland said in the letter to Fed Chair Janet Yellen that the board only voted on 11 of about 1,000 enforcement actions taken during the last 10 years. They cited a recent letter they received from Yellen’s predecessor, Ben Bernanke.

Feb 6, 2014

U.S. regulator calls for better data-breach disclosures

WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) – A top U.S. financial regulator
on Thursday told lawmakers that retailers and other companies
that deal with customer payments should have the same obligation
as banks to report data breaches.

The call for a uniform disclosure regime comes after cyber
criminals managed to pull off a massive theft of customer data
from retailer Target Corp during the holiday shopping
season in late 2013.

Feb 4, 2014

U.S. regulators coordinating Volcker implementation -SEC chair

WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – U.S. financial regulators have
formed a working group to coordinate implementation of the
Volcker rule, which bans banks from proprietary trading, top
regulatory officials plan to tell lawmakers on Wednesday.

The group has already met to discuss industry questions
about the controversial rule and plans to meet again later this
week, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White
said in remarks prepared for delivery during a hearing in the
U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

Jan 31, 2014

U.S. cities criticize treatment of munis in bank liquidity plan

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Leaders of U.S. cities and
states criticized bank regulators’ proposal to block banks from
counting municipal debt toward buffers of easy-to-sell assets
they will have to hold in case of a credit crunch.

The proposed rules, which require banks to hold enough
liquid assets to meet cash needs for 30 days, are a key portion
of an international plan to make banks safer after the 2007-2009
financial crisis.

Jan 29, 2014

U.S. Treasury research unit director defends study on asset managers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of a U.S. Treasury Department research unit on Wednesday told lawmakers that a controversial September report was meant to “shine a spotlight” on potential risks of asset managers, not prompt tougher regulation of specific firms.

Richard Berner, director of the Office of Financial Research, sought to answer some lawmakers’ critiques of the report, which they said misinterpreted aspects of asset managers’ activities. Some industry groups said the office did not do enough to incorporate their views in the report.

Jan 29, 2014

U.S. agency targets mortgage lender over kickback claims

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. consumer financial watchdog said on Wednesday it was seeking fines against PHH Corp and repayment to consumers over allegations that the mortgage lender steered borrowers to insurers from which it took kickbacks.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said lenders sometimes require mortgage insurance for large loans to protect themselves if the borrower defaults. Lenders generally choose the insurers, which often buy secondary insurance, or reinsurance, to reduce some of their own risk.

Jan 29, 2014

War hero’s story draws standing ovation in Obama’s speech

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama invoked the struggles faced by a wounded Army Ranger as he urged the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to work with him to tackle big problems such as boosting the economy and promoting justice and fairness.

Obama paid tribute in his State of the Union address to Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg, who spent months in a coma after being wounded by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Remsburg is blind in one eye and had to re-learn to speak and walk after he was left partially paralyzed.

Jan 24, 2014

U.S. senators slam study on systemic risks posed by asset managers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Five U.S. senators slammed a government report that raised red flags about risks posed by asset management firms in a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that was dated Thursday.

The bipartisan group said the September study mischaracterized the asset management industry and in some places relied on faulty information, and that the report could threaten the credibility of the Treasury Department unit that published it.

Jan 23, 2014

U.S. banks and retailers trade barbs over data breaches

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Community banks from across the United States and some of the country’s biggest retailers are at each other’s throats over whose job it is to protect consumers from the kind of cyber attacks suffered last month by Target and Neiman Marcus.

The National Retail Federation delivered a shot on Tuesday, saying in a letter to U.S. lawmakers that its bank “partners” had failed to adopt new technology and instead continued to issue “fraud-prone” magnetic stripe credit and debit cards.